Historic Home Maintenance Basics

Owning an older home has its perks and its drawbacks. It comes with the added bonus of having “character”, but that “character” can also come with a lot of headaches if it’s not tended to from time to time. Maintaining the upkeep necessary to keep you historic older home looking in fine shape is almost a full time job, and if it’s not done correctly, it’ll just contribute to the decay of the house. There are a few basics that you need to know in order to maintain your historic home without doing it more harm than good.

Hire a professional. When it comes to certain jobs, professional help really needs to be sought. Cleaning windows on the third story of a house and cleaning out gutters and septic systems are best left to someone in the know (and with the appropriate tools) and can be dangerous for an amateur to even attempt. Consider consulting the fine folk at Puget Services who specialize in the maintenance of historic homes and can equip you with the knowledge and expertise to know what to look out for when maintaining your historic home.

Inspect for damage. Before you go and hire someone for the job, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of what actually needs to be done in order to keep your home in tiptop shape. Create an inspection checklist so that you don’t forget anything important. You’ll want to inspect your home every six months. The gutters and downspouts need to be checked without fail. During the wet winter months, these can become clogged and get damaged, so it’s important to inspect the problem areas and replace any parts that need replacing before the problem turns into a nightmare. Cleaning all debris and removing leaves and branches from the roof is of utmost importance when maintaining old homes. Look for areas where water might be pooling on the roof as this will need to be fixed before holes start to appear. Rust or damaged flashings need to be examined too. It’s important to check for any cracks or loose mortar in the chimney foundations as well. The houses sidings or claddings need to be checked for peeling paint and sun damage, while the windows and doors should be examined for any air leaks, water damage, loose panes or crumbling glazing putty.

Preventative measures. Prevention is always better than trying to fix a problem once it’s already occurred, so be sure to nip any issues in the bud before they develop into something hazardous. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed back from the house in order to prevent leaves and branches from falling onto the roof and damaging the surface of the home. Touch up any peeling or chipped paint in order to prevent the peeling from spreading further. And you should also ensure that your home is regularly checked for termites (on an annual basis).

Avoid mistakes. Before you leap in with a sledgehammer and start demolishing certain features of your historic home, you’re going to want to do a little research. You could be removing a foundation of the home or you may even be removing a historic architectural piece of history.

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